Hands down, truffles are the all-time best holiday gift. Sweet, rich and totally decadent, yes -- and you can also put them together in a matter of hours, making them ideal for last-minute projects. And though a fine truffle requires the very best in organic, fair trade ingredients, you can still make a batch for less money than a box of good chocolates. Need more inspiration? Here are some of our favorite recipes and tips to get you started.
1. Simple and Perfect
When you're using the very best ingredients, a simple recipe is more than adequate. In fact, Robert Linxe's Chocolate Truffles use only two ingredients: chocolate and cream. This recipe calls for Valrhona chocolate, but we also recommend Dagoba or another organic, fair-trade purveyor of premium quality, sustainably produced cocoa.
2. Rich, Classic Flavors
Creamy ganache works with a huge range of flavors, and the classics take advantage of that by contrasting sweet flavors with rich, salty and smoky ones. These Milk Chocolate Espresso Truffles call for instant coffee and coffee liqueur; we recommend a good Turkish blend and, if you have it, homemade Kahlua. This Caramel and Fleur de Sel Truffles recipe includes your own homemade caramel (not as hard as it sounds!). With a dusting of hand-harvested fleur de sel, they explode into sweet gooey flavor. Make sure you use organic, raw sugar!
3. Spiced Sweets
The more you add to a truffle recipe, the more you risk. These two spiced truffles are tried and true, and both use white chocolate and a little texture to lighten the mix, helping offset the added spices. The results are fantastic. White Chocolate Gingerbread Truffles will be my personal go-to for years to come, while White Chocolate Chai Truffles were developed by the candy scientists at MIT.
4. Vegan Extravagance
Why are vegan desserts so consistently incredible? Probably because they're incredibly rich with all the healthy fats. Click through for OA's favorite vegan truffle recipes, and don't miss this simple, classic and totally addicting chocolate and coconut vegan truffle that uses cashews for an amazing creamy base.
5. Fruitier Fare
Dipping fruit in chocolate seems simple enough, but to make a truly delicious fruit-based truffle, you need a great recipe. Passionfruit Truffles use pureed fruit and candy molds for an unusual, elegant combination; we recommend pureeing fresh organic passionfruit instead of buying it frozen. For a healthier, more shelf-stable and totally fun option, try these Dried Fruit Truffles. Or throw that healthy attitude out the window, and use jam and cream as the base for Fruit Preserve Truffles.
Photo by Fang Guo on Flickr.
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